This started as Momofuku Ssam Pork but to my family and I, this has been renamed “Crack Pork” because it is just that damn addictive. I’ve made a few changes including moving the cooking time from 6 hours to actually 9. I’d also recommend cooking it with the fat cap on top so the rendered fat bastes it as it drips down.
If you go look at the original recipe you will also notice that I have eliminated all of the original sauce recommendations in a cooking equivalent of Strunk and White’s “Eliminate Needless Words” becoming “Eliminate Needless Sauces”. I now serve this pretty much exclusively as tacos since, well, tacos!
I’ve also fine tuned the basting technique considerably. Here is how I recommend that you baste this giant ass piece of pork (which has to be basted hourly). This is all based on my belief that basters suck monkey chunks and they just never work well.
- Take roasting pan out of oven
- Put a rimmed cookie sheet next to it
- Remove the big meat from the roasting pan via the rack and place on cookie sheet still on rack.
- Place a strainer over a large measuring cup
- Pour the drippings from the roasting pan into the strainer. Since the meat isn’t on the roasting pan, this is now easy.
- Put the browned bits from the strainer back into the bottom of the pan if making gravy (but you aren’t for this recipe; this is a tip in case you use this technique for a turkey).
- Put the rack with the meat back into the roasting pan.
- Pour the juices over the meat
- Move it back to the oven
Props to my pork loving friend Deanna who asked me to clarify my basting process and forced me to document it.
- 1 whole bone-in pork butt (8 to 10 pounds)
- 1 cup white sugar
- 1 cup plus 1 tablespoon kosher salt
- 7 tablespoons brown sugar
Place the pork in a large, shallow bowl. Mix the white sugar and 1 cup of the salt together in another bowl, then rub the mixture all over the meat. Cover it with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for at least 6 hours, or overnight.
When you’re ready to cook, heat oven to 300. Remove pork from refrigerator and discard any juices. Place the pork in a roasting pan and set in the oven and cook for approximately 9 hours, or until it collapses, yielding easily to the tines of a fork. (After the first hour, baste hourly with pan juices.) At this point, you may remove the meat from the oven and allow it to rest for up to an hour.
When your accompaniments are prepared and you are ready to serve the food, turn oven to 500. In a small bowl, stir together the remaining tablespoon of salt with the brown sugar. Rub this mixture all over the cooked pork. Place in oven for approximately 10 to 15 minutes, or until a dark caramel crust has developed on the meat. Serve hot, with the accompaniments.
Note: I’ve forgotten to add the brown sugar crust about a half dozen times now and it is still delicious.